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Boyd Moves Into New Role With DOC

Working in the world of criminal justice runs in the Boyd family. Terry Boyd, the new Montana Department of Corrections’ Native American liaison, grew up watching his father work as a criminal investigator for the Fort Peck Tribes in Poplar.

In his new role with the DOC, former probation and parole officer Boyd hopes to continue the family tradition of helping others. For Boyd, an enrolled member of the Sioux tribe, his father’s desire to help people pushed him to work in the rehabilitative side of criminal justice.

“He instilled in me they are our people, and they’re people,” Boyd said of his father’s influence. “They’re human beings, and we need to help them. They’re not just a number in the system.”

In his position, Boyd will work to ensure the department has strong relationships with Montana tribes and help the DOC provide the best service possible to the populations it serves.

Boyd, based out of Billings, will do cultural training with DOC staff members and meet with Native American inmates.

“I’m excited to have Terry in this role and the breadth of his experience that he’ll bring to this position,” DOC director Brian Gootkin said. “As a probation and parole officer, Terry is already familiar with the DOC and how we operate. It should be a seamless transition to be an important role that he’ll thrive in.”

Boyd was a probation and parole officer in Billings for the past eight years. Previously Boyd worked at Alternatives, Inc., Passages and the South Central Montana Regional Mental Health Center.

He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and a masters degree in public administration.

While working as a probation and parole officer, Boyd said he noticed a large number of Native Americans being sentenced out of district court and released from prison.

“I want to be part of the solution in finding what we can do as a department to help that group,” Boyd said. “As a tribal member and having experienced family members who have been through the system, it makes me want to jump in and see what we can do to make it better. I want them to succeed.”

To start, Boyd is working on meeting with each tribe and ensuring open lines of communication with the department. In addition, he is inventorying what opportunities are offered to Native Americans through the department and its community partners so he can evaluate what other options might be of assistance.

Boyd started in his new role during November. “I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues in the DOC and in the community,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to come and ask me a question. That’s what I’m here for, and I want people to be able to understand Native Americans better.”

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